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Komondy Would Bring 'Fresh Ideas' to Township

Democrat and running mate Bonnie Diehl said some issues also deserve closer look.

Michael Komondy, a Democrat who is seeking with his running mate Bonnie Diehl to break the Republican stronghold on the Township Committee, said he initially decided to run for a three-year term on the committee to bring "fresh ideas" to the governing body.

Diehl and Komondy will be listed on Tuesday's ballot as the Democratic choices, challenging Republican candidates John Carpenter and Mary Pavlini, who each are seeking election to third terms on the Township Committee.

Komondy harkened back to the country's founding, when he said that the first elected officials took turns in office and then returned to their farms or professions to give someone else a chance.

"Clearly, you do need to change people in power. You get complacent," he said.

However, Komondy added last week that once he started looking into municipal activities, he came to feel there are some issues that deserve a closer look.

Komondy, who said he has lived in the township for 20 years, said he is a Dunkin Donuts franchisee who works with, and represents franchise owners. He said that he feels some challenges facing the township could have been better addressed through continuing negotiations.

He called the township's dealings with the "like a sore that's just festering and doesn't go away." The quarry is scheduled to appear before the Planning Board later this month with a plan for its future. He said township officials should work to get the job done of reaching an agreement with the quarry.

The township's relationship with the quarry was better in the past, and Komondy said he feels the overall approach in Bernards Township was "friendlier 20 years ago."

He said the township did not show itself friendly to local business in its handling of a dispute between the and its two closest neighbors along Madisonville Road regarding supposedly loud music coming from the restaurant on three nights and on Sunday afternoons.

Komondy said he believes that, too could have been negotiated without resulting to a legal dispute. The Bamboo Grill is legally challenging a Township Committee decision to prohibit amplified music at the restaurant as a condition of renewing the restaurant's liquor license this fall.

Komondy, who was a volunteer member and officer with the Basking Ridge Fire Company and also the First Aid Squad for almost 15 years, said the catering facility and restaurant within the has long hosted many events for local fundraisers for civic and charitable organizations.

He questioned why the township should spend money to side with the two homeowners next door to the Bamboo Grille, who have been the primary complaintants under a municipal nuisance ordinance.

Komondy said Carpenter has a personal relationship with one of the neighbors, who serves on the local Board of Adjustment. He said a new representative on the Township Committee would not be "beholden" to anyone.

Komondy also said a discussion about the Bamboo Grille — during which many people spoke in support of the Bamboo Grille — lasted for a substantial period of time. Meanwhile, he said next to nothing has been said or released publicly about a concern that asphalt millings were placed at Whitenack Woods, preserved by the township as open space, that he said some fear may have contaminated other land and water supplies.

He said he believes the handling of the two issues shows a "dual standard" that places some residents' concerns above others.

He also said said he disagreed with a township decision some time back not to allow the Little League or similar athletic groups to use a public announcement system at their games.

In response to accusations that the Democrats did not properly file their financial statements, Komondy said he had checked and been told that the forms were in order.

Komondy, who with his wife has two children at Ridge High School, said he also has been involved with fundraising at St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Bernardsville when his children were attending the school. He said he has been chairman of some fundraising walks through the American Diabetes Association.

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